Monday, March 16, 2009

Red Light Changer. 0 for 1...

Have you ever sat at a traffic light on your bike waiting for your turn, and it never comes? Well it happens to me every time I pull up to the traffic light leading into my neighborhood. My neighbor hood has only one road leading into it so I do have two ways of getting home, I can approach from the west and make a Right turn which is my normal method (I will often go several miles out of my way in order to do this), or I can approach from the east and take my chances that a car is already sitting in the left turn lane at the light. The Left turn light will only activate if it senses a vehicle in the turn lane. If I get there first and a car comes up behind me the light still will not change as the sensors are rather short. I have no doubt that at some point in the future that the local Law enforcement will be present when I do my red light run. So what's a lazy guy to do? I really don't want to spend the Time, Energy or Money to prove my case to the Law enforcement officer or the traffic court Judge.

This Lazy guy purchased the Red Light Changer for $20. It comes in a small plastic box with a colorful cardboard inner box, just like every other item from china. First thing you will notice if there is more than one box on display is that they are lightly stuck together. If you pry one apart and take a moment to read the labeling you will find it's not safe to handle if you have a pacemaker (you have been forewarned). When you get the plastic open you will find a small metal can, open the can and there is a instruction sheet and 2 alcohol prep-pads. Remove a piece of Styrofoam and there sits a small brown unassuming lump. It turns out that the lump is quite comfortable in it's can and doesn't really want to come out. The forty pounds of magnetic pull quickly grabs on to the side of the can when you try to remove it. The instruction state that you should not remove the magnet from its home until you are ready to install it, but I'm sure most everybody will want to play just a little. Do be careful as it is strong enough that it could negatively effect electronics, credit cards etc.

The instructions tell you that the magnet should be installed on the bottom of the motorcycle, towards the front, facing down and stuck to a ferromagnetic part of the frame or cross brace. It should NOT be installed on or to close to the engine, exhaust or electronics. If the magnet is exposed to temperatures greater than 175 degrees it will start to loose it's magnetic strength. This is a problem for me as the bottom of my motorcycle is all engine and exhaust. The only bits of frame on my bike are on top of the engine where the electronic brain is, and no where near the road. I thought the center stand would be the best location. After closer inspection I have to find a different location as my center stand is surrounded by the exhaust when in the up position and it actually touches it slightly on the left side. In the end I placed it on the torque arm, it is ferromagnetic, not to close to the hot parts and somewhat close to the ground. Only time will tell if that was the correct location.

Just so you know it doesn't Really change the light from red to green, instead it lets the traffic light know that you are there and that you would appreciate a green light in the near future. Unfortunately for me the magnet did not do it's job in the one and only occasion I have found myself at the traffic light.

0 for 1

Judgment is reserved pending more testing.

See you on the road.
GAW

8 comments:

bobskoot said...

Gordon:

I think you still have to bring that "magnet" close to the loop sensor buried in the roadway. Most loops are visible and the magnet must hover over the imbedded wire to change the inductance of the loop. Most often I just hover the hottest part of the engine over the loop and the sensor will recognize your bike as being there.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

682202 said...

Bob,

Thanks for stopping by. I have always had problems off and on at the light into my neighborhood, but they got much worse about a year and a half ago. The road was resurfaced, now there is no way to see the sensor, I'm sure I'm over it, but there is just know way to make sure the magnet is directly over the wire. I was disappointed when it didn't work, and I did something I should have done a long time age. I emailed the DOT (the light is on a State road) about the light, and to my surprise I had a reply in less than a hour stating the local engineer had been contacted and would be checking the light as soon as possible. I have yet to pull up to the light to see if it has been tweaked or not. I prefer to only use the light in low traffic times.

I hope to report back soon with a positive outcome. GAW

bobskoot said...

The engineer can change the sensitivity of the "loop" if he knows that a vehicle of less mass is hovering over it. Most likely he will solve your light problem

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

bobskoot said...

Gordon:

I just noticed your poll. I used to have a Kymco BW250 and I would say that it depends upon the terrain you have, where you are. He in the mountains and hills of British Columbia I would say it is too small. I have some impressions regarding the BW250 vs the Kymco X500Ri (which I currently ride) as a prev Blog entry from last summer. I don't wish to be too long winded here BUT; your poll doesn't allow for other choices.

My Opinion:
Morpheous: recently discontinued due to low sales.
Vespa: problems with electronic ignition, and parts availability problems. also rumors of pulling out of North America because of huge worldwide losses. Many boutique dealers closing up around the country
Chinese scooters: avoid unless you are a mechanic, or can make your own parts
Kymco X250Ri: same frame as my own X500Ri. I have never ridden one but what I have read, they are a little underpowered since they have to push a heavy frame. The weight however, makes for a very balanced stable ride in wind conditions.

Consider:
Kymco Downtown 300i: new model being introduced
Kymco Grand Vista (aka: Grand Dink) not sure if they are upgrading the engine to 300i or staying at 250.
All Kymco engines will be FI except for 49cc

all IMHO, of course

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

682202 said...

Bob,

I looked up your comparison of the 250 and 500, it was most insightful. I certainly don't have the mountains to deal with here in Missouri, our highest point in the state is only 1770 ft http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taum_Sauk_Mountain.

The X500Ri and the MP3-500 are the two scooters that really got me looking, but both are more than I would be able to spend (the MP3 way more$$$). The X500Ri has the look that I like and it probobly has the power that I would feel most comfortable with. In the end I will probably keep my eyes open for a used example of the Kymco.

My biggest problem with choosing is the test ride or more truthfully the lack of the test ride. The first time I walked into the BMW dealer almost 14 years ago i was asked "...are motorcycle qualified?" and in no time they were fitting me with a helmet so that I could take the bike I would later buy for a test ride. Over the years I have turned down more test rides than I can count (i don't want to make my bike jealous). Basically every bike on the floor or at the very least one example is prepped and ready to ride at my local BMW shop. I must give the Kymco dealer some credit, they did say they would prep the X250Ri for a test ride if I was "Really Serious..."

The Test Ride, That should be a post all to it's self.

The Poll.

The Morpheous: I really like the look, but would only buy one if it was a really, really, really good deal (cheap, low miles).

The Vespa: I think they are a bit over priced( as I get older I get tighter)

The Drop ship: I just don't have the time, maybe if I was retired and looking for a challenge.

The X250Ri: Is the most likely of the poll to be purchased, but I still need that test ride to make sure.

Thanks again for the insight on the 250 & 500.

GAW

bobskoot said...

Gordon:
I really like my X500Ri. At first, I thought it was too heavy. At low speeds you have to "lean" the bike to turn. You have to be more deliberate in your parking choices, as it is hard to push it backwards. Better to put it in the correct position with engine power. I also have a Suzuki SV650 and the X500Ri is much heavier with less power but in urban traffic the X500Ri wins every time.
As for gas mileage, scooters with CVTs are not very fuel efficient as you need RPMs to build up speed and lack of "overdrive". Bikes on the other hand are usually 1:1 ratio at 4th gear, and 5th & 6th are overdrive ratios. For urban use scooters are usually always in their sweet RPM spot (ie: always in their correct power band) so your MPG from city speeds up to around 50 MPH are usually the same. MPG drops proportionately as you go over 50 MPH.

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

chessie said...

Huh, between you and your guest, I am leaving this post with information that is important to me! Thanks
Chessie

chessie said...

I'm leaving a 2nd post, because I forgot to click that I wanted to read anything else that gets put here...so...it's empty except of this useless chatter...sorry...